January 23, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 63  

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NEWS

WIN members debate feminism: they all agree

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Joyce Wang/Gazette
MAKING THE CASE. From left to right, WIN members Jen Wheatley, Isabelle Ortega and Monika Lenkiewicz discuss the topic “Is feminism dead?” in the University Community Centre atrium yesterday.

Members of the Women’s Issues Network were in the University Community Centre atrium yesterday holding a panel discussion, which asked the age-old question “Is feminism dead?” Sadly, the question was left unanswered.

“We don’t want what our genitals are to determine how we are treated,” said Isabella Ortega, WIN panel member and a fourth-year media, information and technoculture student.

Ortega pointed out her dismay with the current leadership race for the Conservative Party of Canada, in which former Magna CEO Belinda Stronach is a contender. She said the media has the tendency to gloss over Stronach’s political agenda and focus on her appearance.

“Women are valued by their bodies as much as their minds,” said Jen Wheatley, another WIN panelist and second-year MIT student, concerning Stronach’s leadership bid. She added that the fact there are women in politics does not mean women’s issues will be dealt with right away.

Wheatley remarked that she was displeased with a joke in Wednesday’s edition of The Gazette, which suggested $20 million would go well towards buying feminists a sense of humour. “I was offended by that piece of trash.

“There’s a gross misunderstanding of what [WIN] is,” Wheatley said, adding there is a need for the organization on campus.

“We need to be aware and keep moving; there’s more contributions that need to be made,” said panel member Monika Lenkienwicz, a fourth-year biology student, explaining that feminism is about equality between men and women, something yet to be achieved.
According to Lenkienwicz, feminism is inclusive to both women and men, and male students are welcome to join WIN in this spirit. “Anyone who believes women are equal to men is a feminist,” she said.

Ortega explained that the term feminism is difficult to properly define and the key is to raise awareness and make distinctions between different forms of feminism known. “There are so many different forms of feminism.”

“I do take issue to the name WIN because it’s not just about women’s issues [sic],” said panel member Kelly Wilson, a third-year political science student, pointing out that many misconceptions of WIN and feminism arise from the name of the organization.

One unnamed audience member even suggested changing the name of WIN to the Gender Issues Network or GIN.

—With files from Ljubica Durlovska

 

 

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